Chevron Conservation Award press release honoring Dr. John H. Tanton

Chevron Conservation Award

News Release

CONTACT: Bill Roper Chevron U.S.A. (415) 894-2457 or Deb Magness (412) 456-3844


Unsung Environmental Heroes Honored In Program's 36th Year

SAN FRANCISCO, May 10, 1990 -- John H. Tanton, M.D., of Petoskey, Michigan, has received a 1990 Chevron Conservation Award for his efforts in establishing the Little Traverse Conservancy. An eye surgeon, Tanton founded the conservancy in 1972 and has directed the acquisition of more than 2,000 acres of land for conservation purposes, including the largest stand of red oak trees in the Upper Great Lakes area. The organization has also helped local governments obtain more than $1.5 million in grants to protect nature preserves.

Tanton will join 19 individuals and five organizations who have been selected by a panel of conservation experts for their independent spirit, vision and commitment to improving the nation's air, water, land and wildlife resources.

To acknowledge pioneering efforts in protecting and enhancing the environment, these individuals and organizations from across the United States will be honored by the program, now in its 36th year. The annual Chevron Conservation Awards will be presented at a special ceremony on May 16 at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

The guest speaker will be The Honorable Michael R. Deland, chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality, which formulates and recommends national environmental policies to President Bush.

The Conservation Awards Program was founded in 1954 by Ed Zern, a nationally known sportsman, outdoor writer and one of the fathers of modern conservation.

Under Zern's direction, the program honors individuals and organizations who devote themselves, often without pay or recognition, to the protection and enhancement of renewable natural resources. In addition, the honorees must display an ability to work with diverse organizations to solve environmental problems.

"Over many years, I've observed thousands of people who have made a difference in our environment," Zern said. "Like award winners before them, this year's honorees represent the commitment needed to better our environment and serve as outstanding examples of what our society can do to improve life for all of us."

"Becoming involved and taking action are the key steps to environmental solutions," said Willis J. Price, president of Chevron U.S.A., sponsor of the program since 1986. "Chevron is proud to support a program that recognizes the importance of balancing conservation achievements with economic progress."

The 1990 honorees, from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, represent a cross section of people and organizations from 20 states. Their backgrounds vary widely, ranging from leaders of various conservation groups to a Kansas courier service employee, former Florida commercial fisherman and Hawaiian park ranger. Together, they share one common trait -- the genuine commitment needed to achieve environmental results.

Each of the 25 honorees will receive a $1,000 cash award, a bronze plaque commemorating their conservation work and a trip to Washington, D.C.

Nominations were submitted for this award in three categories: Professional, Citizen Volunteer or Nonprofit Organization/Public Agency. Two endorsement letters, a brief biographical sketch of the nominee and collateral materials accompanied each nomination, which were evaluated by an independent committee of distinguished conservationists. The committee and program director Ed Zern selected the final honorees.

Since 1954, nearly 800 individuals and organizations have been recognized by the Conservation Awards Program. Additional information on nominating procedures can be obtained by writing to: Chevron Conservation Awards, P.O. Box 7753, San Francisco, California 94120-7753.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Following are brief descriptions of the 1990 Chevron Conservation Awards Program honorees and their achievements. Please read for additional local information. Interviews with any of the honorees or program director Ed Zern are available by contacting Deb Magness or Ken Walters at (412) 456-3713.


With an independent spirit, imagination and determination, pioneers of the new environmental decade are taking action. These individuals and groups, often with little or no recognition, work to better the environment and our quality of life not only today, but also for future generations.

The Conservation Awards Program, the oldest privately sponsored program of its kind in the nation, recognizes the efforts of these conservation achievers. Sponsored by Chevron, the program honors these "unsung heroes" for their protection and enhancement of the country's natural resources. Established in 1954, the program has honored nearly 800 individuals and organizations for their work in conserving the environment.

Following is a state listing and description of the 1990 honorees. Twenty professional and citizen honorees and five nonprofit organizations will be recognized in Washington, D.C., on May 16 for making a difference in the environment on local and national levels.


Steven J. McCormick, Greenbrae, has protected more than 250,000 acres of natural areas since 1986 as director of the state's Nature Conservancy chapter. Under his direction, the chapter's membership grew tenfold to 100,000 and annual contributions rose to more than $1 million.

The Trust for Public Land, San Francisco, is a national land conservation group that has protected nearly 500,000 acres of natural areas for public use, including urban, wetlands and wilderness environments.


Hester "Tess" McNulty, Boulder, is a respected expert on water issues throughout the state and has been a leading voice in lobbying lawmakers to protect surface, ground and drinking water from toxic substances.


August A."Gus" Muench, Jr., Ruskin, led the effort to protect Cockroach Bay, the last productive natural fishery on Tampa Bay's eastern shore. He also created sea wall reefs, which turn vertical cement seawalls into productive habitats for fish, oysters and other marine life.


Daniel D. Moriarty, Kilauea, Kauai, led the largest restoration of an ecosystem in Hawaii when he re-established the native flora at Kilauea Point. A park ranger, he coordinated a 124-acre expansion of the Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge to protect various species, including sea turtles, tropic birds and monk seals.


Clark W. Bullard, Urbana, pioneered a 20-year campaign to protect the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River. Last year, the Middle Fork was designated as part of the federal government's Wild and Scenic Rivers System, making it the state's first river to receive this honor.

Doris Lorenzen Westfall, Danville, has been instrumental in protecting the state's prairies and other natural areas for over 30 years and led the restoration of Forest Glen County Preserve, a 40-acre prairie that supports more than 100 native grasses.


Jan Gorton, Manhattan, is best known for her efforts to protect Cheyenne Bottoms, a resting ground for more than 45 percent of migrant shorebird species in North America. Through various lobbying efforts, she has obtained $3.4 million in government funds to research and restore Cheyenne Bottoms.

Dr. Dwight R. Platt, Newton, has been a leading force in shaping the state's conservation policy. Over the past 30 years, he directed the creation of a state system of natural areas, established Tallgrass Prairie National Park, and organized Citizens for Environmental Action in Kansas, the first statewide organization to coordinate environmental agency activities.


Markham "Skipper" Dickson, Jr., Shreveport, established the 70,000-acre Tensas National Wildlife Refuge, one of the nation's most biologically productive wildlife habitats. Under his direction, $70 million was raised to protect the refuge, which is home to more than 50 mammal species.


Dr. Raymond P. Coppinger, Amherst, pioneered the Livestock Dog Project, which encourages the use of dogs to ward off attacks from predators such as coyotes. Over a period of seven years, 60 to 70 percent of the farmers participating in the project report that predator attacks have been reduced.

Dr. Joseph S. Larson, Amherst, is an internationally recognized expert on freshwater wetlands and pioneered the development of the first model to manage and assess wetlands. Several states and Canadian provinces have used this model in their conservation programs.


John H. Tanton, M.D., Petoskey, founded and directed the Little Traverse Conservancy, a leader in U.S. land trusts that has protected more than 2,000 acres, including the largest stand of red oak trees in the Upper Great Lakes area.


Carrol L. Henderson, Blaine, has been instrumental in managing the research and protection of the state's endangered species. Through a small grants program, he protected the peregrine falcon, established the trumpeter swan Reintroduction Program and provided more than 200 nest boxes for bluebirds across the state.


Platte River Whooping Crane Maintenance Trust, Inc., Grand Island, works to protect and restore the Platte River Basin, which benefits the world's only wild flock of whooping cranes and 300 migratory bird species. During the past 10 years, the group has protected 16 miles of river frontage and restored nine miles of crane roosting habitat.


The Student Conservation Association, Charlestown, provided more than 425 student volunteers and 40,000 hours of labor to restore fire-stricken areas of Yellowstone National Park. The group repaired bridges, turnpikes and more than 60 miles of trails to provide public access to large portions of the park.


Michael M. Stewartt, Santa Fe, is an airplane pilot who founded "Project Lighthawk," which has provided legislators, conservation groups and the media with an aerial perspective on environmental problems from Alaska to Central America.


Rosemarie S. Gnam, Ridgewood, is known as the "Parrot Lady of the Bahamas" for her work in studying and saving the island's endangered parrot. Her research has provided the information needed to expand the bird's breeding population, and lawmakers are considering a 15,000-acre reserve for the parrots.


Winous Point Shooting Club, Port Clinton, has been using its marshes to protect wildlife and conserve wetlands for more than 130 years. The club has restored over seven miles of dikes along Sandusky Bay, and protects a 2,400-acre bay that serves as a refuge for more than 100,000 migrating ducks.


Michael C. Houck, Portland, established one of the nation's first systems to create wildlife refuges in urban areas. He researched and coordinated management strategies for the refuges and worked with the city's lawmakers to designate the areas as natural resource networks.


National Wild Turkey Federation, Inc., Edgefield. works with more than 30 federal and state agencies to enhance wild turkey populations. Through its 343 chapters, the organization raised more than $2 million to restore and manage wild turkeys in all habitats.


Andrew H. Sansom, Austin, has been the driving force behind the acquisition of thousands of acres of state land for conservation purposes. As executive director of the state's Nature Conservancy, he directed the protection of more than 200,000 acres of the state's endangered natural areas.


Wilbur E. Garrett, Great Falls, has worked with five Central American governments to establish biosphere reserves, which will protect five million acres of rain forests. During his 35-year career with National Geographic magazine, including 10 years as editor, he sought to educate readers on important environmental issues.

John W. Hanes, Jr., Alexandria, was a driving force behind the "Conserve Virginia Campaign," a $5.8 million fund-raising effort to protect 36 new natural areas. He serves as a key management adviser for several conservation groups, including The Nature Conservancy, Boone & Crockett Club and World Wildlife Fund.


Robert G. Boye, Edmonds, has been instrumental in teaching 20,000 school children about water resources and ecology. He has assisted educators from nearly 60 elementary and middle schools through his classroom salmon enhancement project, which raises salmon in special aquariums and releases them into nearby streams.

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